tv Democracy Now LINKTV May 9, 2017 8:00am-9:01am PDT
05/09/17 05/09/17 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from new york this is , democracy now! now banned centaurs cities in the united states. we are a nation of laws. texas is doing its part to keep it that way. amy: texas' republican governor greg abbott has signed one of the nation's harshest immigration laws -- banning sanctuary cities and giving authority to the police to check the immigration status of anyone they detain.
but the state's big city police chiefs all oppose the law. we will speak to a city councilman in austin who was arrested at a sit-in against sb4, plus the chair of the mexican american legislative caucus in the texas house of representatives. then we speak to a student at rutgers university who faces possible deportation. homeconsider america my number without a doubt. i have been living in the same house for 15 to 16 years. i do consider this my home. growing up undocumented was challenging because there is a lot of fear and there's also a lot of uncertainty. amy: at the time of this broadcast, carimer andujar is headed to an interview with ice. and then we look at how the federal communications commission under president trump is rolling back limits on media
consolidation and net neutrality. one of the big winners could be the pro-trump right-wing network sinclair broadcasting which is attempted to become the nation's largest broadcaster. all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. former acting attorney general sally y yates testified to the senate judiciary subcommittee monday that she'd warned the white house less than a week into the trump presidency that former national security adviser michael flynn was lying about whether he'd discussed u.s. sanctions with the russian ambassador sergey kislyak, and that these public and private lies made him susceptible to blackmail. >> we were concerned the american people had been misled about the underlying conduct i n what general flynn had done. additionally, that we were not
the only ones that knew all of this. that the russians also knew about what general flynn had done. in the russians also knew that general flynn had misled the vice president and others. and that created a compromise situation, situationon with the national security adviser essentially could be blackmamaid by thehe russians. amy: yates' testimony renewed questions about why president trump disregarded her warning and did not oust flynn until 18 days later after his lies were revealed by the press. ahead of yates' testimony monday, trump launched a tweet storm, including onene in whicie wrotote -- "ask sally yates, under oath, if she knows how classified information got into the newspapers soon after she explained it to w.h. counsel." some lawyeyers say trump's tweet constitutes illegal witness intimidadation. former criminal investigator seth abramson tweeted -- "the president is committing a
serious felony, witness tampering, in full view of the american public. what's the media going to do about it?" also on monday, former obama administration officials said obama had personally warned trump about flynn, only days after trump was elected. but on monday, white house press secretary sean spicer tried to shift blame onto the obama administration, asking why it hadn't revoked flynn's security clearance. >> the question you have to ask yourself, if president obama was truly concerned about general flynn, why did he suspend is secure to clearance, which they just reapproved a month earlier? aamy: vetting for a white house position is significantly more extensive than a security clearance, which is held by 4 million people. during sally yates' testimony monday, she also clashed with texas senator ted cruz over her refusal to defend president trump's first muslim travel ban, in a move that cost her job. -- move that cost her her job. this is yates. >> in this particular instance,
we were talking about a fundamental issue of religious freedom, not the interpretation of some arcane statute, but religious freedom. it was appropriate f for us to look at the intent behind the president's action in the attempt is laid out -- the overf question, in 200 years of the department of justice history, are you aware of any instance in which the department of justice formally approved the legality of a policy in three days later attorney general is directed the department not to follow that policy and to defy that policy? >> i'm not, but i'm also not aware of the situation where the office of legal counsel was advised not to tell the attorney general about it until after it was over. amy: meanwhilele, a federal appeals court in richmond, virginia, heard arguments over trump's second travel ban, which sought to ban all refugees and citizens of six majority muslim nations from entering the united states. the 13-panel of judges appeared to be divided over the ban, with a number of judges saying that trump's own statements showed the second travel ban still
sought to unconstitutionally discriminate against people based on their religion. this is judge henry floyd. >> shortly after the executive order was signed, sean spicer said the principles remain the same. trump -- president trump's statement concurrent with that time, "you know my plans." spicer, president trump yesterday continue to deliver on campaign promises. is there anything other than willful blindness that would prevent as from getting behind those statements? amy: another judge, robert king, pointed out that until monday, yesterday trump's campaign , website had continued to call for a "total and complete shutdown of muslims entering the united states." the white house removed that page during monday's hearing, after facing questions from rereporters. in syria, the assad government sasays the united nationons and other international l groups wil not be allowed to monitor the
so-called de-escalation zones under a plan brokered by russia, iran, and turkrk that tookok efeffect over ththe weekend. instead, thehe syrian foreign minister announced mononday the syrian a army would respond to y tential viviolations, , raising further skepticism from armed opposition groups who accuse the syrian government of carryingg out the majority of attacks against civilians. on wednesday, secretary of state rex tillerson will meet with russian foreign minister sergey lavrov to discuss syria and the de-escalation zones. meanwhile, u.s. airstrtres coinue in syriaia in and around rocco. the journalistic monitoring group says multiple u.s. led airstrikes on may 4 and may 5 killed betetween a dozen and two dozen syrian civilians. in washington, d.c., members of the trump administration and pentagon officials are pushing for the deployment of at least 3000 more u.s. troops to
afghanistan and to relax restrictions on launching airstrikes there. the r recommendation comes after the top u.s. commander in afghanistan, general john nicholson, warned the war has reached a stalemate. the united nations says last year saw a record number of afghan civilian deaths and displacement. president trump is expected toto decide whetherer to approve the deployment of additional troops later this month. there are currently about 8400 u.s. troops in afghanistan. in somalia, a car bomb explosion killed at least eight people in the capital mogadishu monday. the militant group al shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack, saying the targets were police, milititary and , intelligence officials. the world health organization says at least 25 people have died in yemen from a cholera outbtbreak, as thehe u.s.-backed sasaudi-led war r in yem cononts to destroy the country's health and sanitation infrastructure. the united nations has also warned the ongoing war alsoo threatens to pusush yemen into famine.
in libya, the bodies of several refugees, including one infant, have washed up onto the shore, as hundreds more are feared to have drowned in the mediterranean over the weekend. this is the spokesperson from the united natations high commissision on refugees. still trying to get more information from the people to see if there are survivors of this incident, but this tragically brings the total number of people dead and missing since the beginning of 1150.ar to more than amy: in south korea, voters are heading to the polls today for a special election to fill the seat of former president park geun-hye, who was ousted and jailed on charges of bribery, extortion, and abuse of power after massive street demonstrations in march. the front-running candidate moon jae-in has pledged to challenge the thaad missile defense system the u.s. recently installed in south korea. the most left-leaning candidate in the race, sim sang-jung, has campaigned on a platform of wealth redistribution, universal
basic income, lgbt rights, andnd other progressive causes. in indonesia, a court has ruled to sentence former jakarta governrnor basuki tjahaja purnaa to two years imprisonment after being convicted of religious blasphemy. supporters of the governor, who is known as ahok, gathered outside the courtroom tuesday to protest the verdict and sentence. disappointed. the law is blind. it can no longer tell between right and wrong. ahok has sacrificed being governor, and we have accepted that. we're disappointed in the law in indonesia. amy: go to democracynow.org to see our full interview with journalist allan nairn about how backers of donald trump have joined army officers and a vigilante street movement linked toto isis to orchestrate the massive street demonstrations that brought down governor ahok and jakarta -- in jakarta and eventually sought to bring down
the indonesian presidedent. in france, hundreds of activists marched to the party headquarters of president-elect emmanuel macron to deliver a petition signed by more than 30,000 people demanding macron support workers rights and progressive programs. this is activist laurent berthet. >> today we want to tell emmanuel macron that a lot of people in france did not vote in his fafavor, but first and foremost come against marine le pen, and he does not reflect our hopes for real transition and ecological, economic, and social level. dealing thing he has for us is his openness to europe. amy: back in the united states, the interior department froze all meetings and work for than 200 advisory boards and committees last week -- about a third of which were related to science. the interior department says the committees have been frozen until interior secretary ryan zinke can review them. the freezings came as, on friday, environmental prototectn agency head scott pruitt dismissed half of the members of an epa scientific review board,
including michigan state university professor robert richardson, who tweeted, "today i was trumped." in mississippi, the american civil liberties union has filed a lawsuit accusing the sheriff's department of madison county of imposing a permanent state of siege on the county's african american residents. the lawsuit says the sheririffs department has set up series of -- the sheriffs department has maintained a series of roadblockcks and checkpoioints n majority-black neighborhoods, where african american residents are subjected to illegal searches. the suit represents 10 black residents s the countnty, including quinnetta manning, whose husband was attacked and beaten by sheriff deputy officers and who says -- "i am scared all the time that the sheriff's department wilill hurt me or family." and in texas, the family of 15-year-old jordan edwards has sued the balch springs police department over the murder of their son. police body cam video shows police officer roy oliver fired his assault rifle into a car
carrying five black teenagers as they drove away from the officer. one of the car's passengers says the officer never even ordered the boys to stop driving before opening fire. oliver has been fired from the police department and charged with m murder. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i am amy goodman back in new york. juan: and i'm juan gonzalez. welcome to a all of our listenes and viewers from around the country and around the world. the state of texas is facing growing criticism after the republican governor greg abbott who signed one of the nation's harshestst immigration laws. abbott signed the bill, sb4, sunday night during a facebook live event with no advance public warning. the state bans sanctuary cities and allows police officers to check the immigration status of anyone they detain. governor abbott spoke about the new law in an interview monday
with fox & friends. >> i was crowd last night to sign this law. this law effectively bans sanctuary cities in the state of texas. what it memeans is no county,y,o city, , no governmental body in the state of texas can adopt any policy that prprovides sanctuar. second what it means, law enforcement officials such as sheriffs, will be required to comply with ice detainer requests. amy: the law was opposed by many powerful forces in texas including the police chiefs of , every big city in the state as well as major religious leaders. catholic cardinal daniel dinardo of houston said -- "immigration law should be enforced in a way that is targeted, proportional and , humane. this bill does not meet the stanandard." san antonio police chief william mcmanus warned the law will resultlt in increased racial profiling and undocumented
residents who are afraid of reporting crimes or coming forward as witnesses because they fear deportation. police chiefs, sheriffs, and jail administrators are also targeted in the new bill, which allows for the state to fine or remove any official who does not comply with immigration detention requests from federal authorities. the state of texas is expected to face numerous legal challenges to the bill before it goes into effect in september. some critics of f sb4 have compared the law to arizona's sb1070, the so-called "show me your papers" law, parts of which were deemed to be unconstitutional. juan: we go now to austin to speak to two guests. gregorio casar is a member of the austin city council member. he was arrested last week after taking part in a sit-in at the state capitol protesting sb4. we are also joined by texas state representative rafael anchia, who serves as chairman of the mexican american legislative caucus in the texas house of representatives.
gregorio casar and rafael anchia welcome to democracy now! you talk casar, could about your arrest last week and the movement of public officials opposed to sb4? >> sure. the governor is clearly trying to coerce our communities and cocourse local elected officials into betraying immigrants, akin to during our police into -- turning our police into trump's deportation n force. we are going to refuse to do it. we had a sit in at the governor's office last week. we sat for nine hoururs, group f clergy, community leaders, and we were ultimately arrested. more portly, we sent a strong message to the goverernor that e are not scared, that we're not afraid and he is not the king. instead of caving in to his demands, we're going to double down on are pro immigrant policies here in austin and across the state.
we're also -- we sued, i personally and my colleagues here in austin, were sued for the audacity of questioning bill four not senate is constitutional. instead of being silenced by his threats, i am calling that only on my colleagues, but county commissioners across texas to rise up and speak truth to power and to sue to stop senate bill fofor before i it is ever enfor. we are facing an authoritarian style regime at the statewide level and we need support from across the state andnd across te country to stop what i believe is the grereatest legislative threat to immigrants in our country right now. juan: you mentioned the lawsuit by the attorney general. this happened when, yesterday or sunday night? it also was a preemptive sued in federal court to uphold the legality of the log rather than wait for anyone else to sue over
ththe constitutionalitity of the law? andt is a very unusual cowardly move by the attorney general. the governor signed this law on a sunday night by himself in his ofoffice out o of public view. in that same night, the attorney general turned around d and sued austin city council members, mayors, county judge andnd shehf merely for questioning whether or not that law was constitutional. so even of the governor is trying to instill fear in our communities, it seems he is the one exhibiting cowawardice and fefear as he receives public backlash and things gogoing wrog inin the court of public o opin, and also things potentiaially gogoing wrong in court. you will be seeing a summer of resistance here in texas against senate bill four. we will not be intimidated by the governor and by the attorney general because the stakes are muchch too high.h. they arere trying to make us america,ro for trump's and we can't let that happen here in texas because it could spread to so many other places and would affect o our immigrant
brothers and sisters so much. amy: in an interview with fox & friends on monday, governor abbott explained the t the harassment and racialal profiling of f the lato community.y. c coming into the united states, especially across the border in texas, are coming not just from mexico -- in fafa, momost of f the peoeople comings the e border in n texas are notm mexico.. they are from around thehe entie globe.e. this has nothing whatsoever to do with those who a a hispanics. and most o of hispanics in the state of texas a are here legaly and have absolutelely nothing to worry ababout. the third point, it is illegal for a law w enforcement officero racially profile anybody. so if somebody does t that, the law enforcement officer will be in a lot of trouble themselves. amy: that is texas governor abbott on fox. texas state representative rafael anchia, why are you so
concerned? can you talk about what you see is the greatest threat of this new texas law? >> certainly. i'm try to counsel people not to use the sanctuary cities language. this is really in arizona-style bill. we should not be surprised with respect to this move by the governor when he was attorney general, he signed an offer does a brief in support of senate bill 1070. this has been part of his record. i will tell you why i am concerned. the papers please bill comes about one week after a s six findingal court discretion on the part of the state of texas against latinos. that has been both in the redistricting context and in the photo id context, which are ways to shut latinos out of the political process. xth opinion,t si the state of texas double down with this texas leesville.
the state of texas is 40% latino. the people who are going to be asked for the papers are going to be latinos, for the most part. it is going to be people who are not english speakers, peoplple o lolook differerently, people whe mo brownwn. bill wasty is, this sold on a pack of mistruths. it was designed to conflate criminality with immigrants, even though immigrants commit a crime at a lower rate than even the nativeborn. and at a time, candidly, and this is contrary to what the governor said in the last clip, that immigration is at its lowest level since the 1970's. but in a political move, the governor, true to his record, has decided to cononflate criminality, immigration, to score political points. and it is offensive for him to
do it on some of our mostt vulnerable populations. juan: what about this issue of the police chiefs that have come out opposed to the bill? on monday, the san antonio police chief william mcmanus addressed some of his concerns about the legislation. >> my concern over all of this is the impact it will havave on the community. even though the bill does not stipulate that we are required to ask, just the mere fact that an officer o out there may ask r the folks understand that the officers can ask, might ask, then i think i it instills a l l of fear inin the community -- which h is what we didid not wao happen t to begin with. we don't want people to go fly under the radar. , what about anchia this uniform opposition by the police chiefs of the major
cities of texas? >> the governor tried to sell this by saying having this bill passed would make us safer when in fact it makes us less safe. that is why law enforcement across the state can make out session against this. there were joined by the faith and business communities. there was broad-based opposition toto the separate. it was more important for the his work iss immigrants come than listen to the community. he often talks about his fate driving his s public policy. in t this case,, designedd the l on a sunday, which is a time when our immigrant community and a lot of texas is either withh family o or in churcrch. he didid it in a cowardly way. he has not been listening to anybody. it leaves me to believe this is just about his electoral prospects in politics. amy: after the passage of the bill, you tweeted to governor abbott "we will see you in court." the state has said the bill is
supreme court tested. what exactly do you think the approach should be? well, the aclu got the mexican american legal defenense and education fund, mexican american legislative caucus -- we're all looking at challenging this in court. the bill does not go into effect until september 1. we have this summer and now this most recent lawsuit by the attorney general to go ahead and challenge this. there will likely be challenges on preemption grouounds, on impermissible grounds. we feel pretty good about successfully holding this up in court and challenging it. juan: gregorio casar, rafael is 40%mentioned texas latino. but when you go to below your austin,the state, in when you go to san antonio and the rio grande valley and the border, you are talking about counties that are 70%, 80%
latino. the impact, especially on south texas, of this kind of legislation? legislation is not just about austin where the attorney general is suing us. it is about every texan. even in some parts of a city like austin, you have commununities to look a lot like south texas. parts of my own district are vastly latino and immigrant. i have neieighborhoods where spanish isis the predominant language far over english. sweeps hereere ice in austin earlier this year, i saw the terror that created in the community. i saw beach, in children's eyes those days when they thought their parents might be removed by the government. what greg abbott once is for the silver to reexperience that trauma every single time they see a policice officer, not just when there is an ice raid.
that is why cities all across the state need to rise up, litigate, and sue and resist agaiainst sb4 and refuse to turn our jails in our police into extensions of trump's deportation machine. amy: during an interview monday, texas governor abbott explained the ramifications fofor sheriffs anand mayors who do o not comply with sb4. >> by them not complying, that would mean that have adopted a policy that promotes sanctuary city policies which means they would not be complyiying with te law. if they do promote s sanctuary city policies, what it means is theyey could be subject to jail time. it means t they could bebe subjt to being removed from officece. it means theheir city or countyo be subject to fines and penalties of up to $25,000 per day. amy: gregorio casar, i would ask about this. in march, judge andrew austin said in open court that federal agents had alerted him that ice
would be targeting the area, your area of austin, texas. the rates would be retribution for travis county sheriff sally hernandez's policy that limited corporation between local and federal authorities. can you talk about sally hernandez'z's standoff with the governor and what this new law will mean for her and for other sheriff's? >> for years, even in the progressive travis county, we were deporting more about immigrant community members than almost anywhwhere else in the country. there was a sustained campaign to have a new sheriff and we were proud to have sheriff fernandez as our new sheriff. she has demanded that these detainers come with criminal warrants and to stop holding people in jail for deportation without warrants. she made that policy shift the daday of trump's inauguration. we soon faced legal retaliation from the federal government, as
was confirmed by judge austin. families were being torn a apart here becauause of ththat politil decision. that shows why things like sin itself four and what we're taking -- send a bill for. the governor thinks he can start removing people from office if we don't go a along with whatate says. the fact is, his mandates are unlawful. we should not be following in moral anand unlawful l mandatesm the governor. that is why the sit in protests have been so important to show governor that even if he threatens to criminalize elected officials, even if he threatens to fine as or remove us fromom office, we're not going to betray our communities and our constitution. amy: i would and thank you but for being with us, gregorio casar in austin city council member, and texas state representative rafael anchia, chair of the mexican american legislative caucus in the texas representatives.
amy: "spinning out" by making movies. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. as we turn right now to 21-year-r-old carimer andujar wo came t to the united s states fm the dominican republic with her family at the age of four. she is in her third year studying chemical engineering at rutgers university in new jersey where she has been an outspoken advocate for undocumented students. juan: carimer andujar is the
president of "undocurutgers" and a recipient of daca -- deferred action for childhood arrivals -- under president obama. she was waiting for renewal of her status when she received a letter from federal immigration customs enforcement, or ice, ordering her to report for a check-in this morning. immigrant rights advocates say andujar may now face deportation. she is reporting to ice at the time of this broadcast. her future in this country in limbo. well, yesterday, i sat down with andujar in our studios and began by asking her when she first received the notice from ice. >> so i received the notice about seven to eight t eks ago. and ththe notice said i had to report for an interview with a deportation officer at the federal ice building in newark. juan: and you have been very active at rutgers universityy among the undocumented students. talk about your work there. >> my advocacy for started by starting rutgers first student organization for undocumented
students. the start of the organization with the objective of providing resources as well as support to undocumented students to improve the graduation rates, as well as retention rates for undocumented students because they are currently very low for higher education. juan: what is your fear of deportation? have you seen other students either at rikers or students you know whoho were -- rututgers or students you know who were deported? >> there was a national case a couple of weeks agago of a a daa recipient is either out to lunch or dinner with his girlfriend and ice officials started asking him questions that very same day , he was later deported to mexico. so that is a direct violation of the regulations set forth by daca. daca is supposed to be deportation protection for early childhood arrivals. about yourtle bit
story. ek from the dominican republic when you were four years old. you lived and studied in new jersey all of your life? >> yes. juan: tell us what it has been like being here undocumented for so many years. foremost, i consider america my home without a doubt. i have been living in the same house for 15 to 16 years. i do consider this my home. growing up undocumented was challenging because there was a lot of fear. there is also a lot of uncertainty. it also poses a lot of challenges trying to obtain a higher education degree. so some of those challenges include not being able to get federal financial aid or any form of financial aid, as well it does makese -- it more difficult also apply for loans. financially, it is a lot of strain. juan: during a february news conference, president trump was
asked if you planned to continue program.the daca pres. trump: we're going t to sw greaeat heart. daca i is a very, very difficult subject for me. to me, it is one of the most difficult i have because you have these increredible kids coe in many cases -- not in all cases. in some of the cases, they are having daca and they are gang members and drug dealers, too. but yes an absolutely incredible kids. i would say mostly. they were brought here in such a way -- it is a very tough subject. we're going to deal with daca with heart. i have to deal with a lot of politicians and convince them what i am m saying is right. and i appreciate your understanding on that. juan: your reaction to president trump's statements and also do his general approach so far to the immigration issue in the country? >> well, the statement comes after a lot of dehumanizing rhetoric. mainly targegeting not onlyy
immimigrants in general, but alo specifically undocumented immigrants. so it came as a bit of surprise just because perhaps he did not realize when he was first speaking that when he speaks about undocumented people, he is also speaking about daca recipients. it is not only a daca versus non--daca, because non-daca are also our parents. they are in the same struggle as us. our struggle is one in the same. juan: at rutgers, the university officials have declared the university a safe space for undocumented students. there is a sort of equivalent to sanctuary cities that have developed around the country. your response to how the university has dealt with your case -- i know the faculty union has been very supportive and mobilizing people to appear with you tuesday morning at the federal building there.
>> i have received incredible support, as you said, from the faculty union as well as various professors at the university. i have heard some students have been reaching out to the president of the university to get him to voice his support for not only myself, but also other undocumented students in my situation. i have not heard -- i have not heard feedback from that, but i the senate approved a motion in support of undocumented students. so as of right now, what we have seen from the administration is -- sorry,emails support from emails. we received a lot of emails stating their suppoport for undocumented s students. but this is a casese where nowos the time for them to prove and demonstrate their support, not only in males, but when an actual case arises, are they
willing to kind of go against the national rhetoric and support an undocumented student? one cup you will be going to your ice check in tuesday morning, tomorrow morning, at8:30 in newark, new jersey. who will you you come to buy and what you expect to happen? appear 9:00. i expect to get a early. because of the support i have been receiving, as i said, not only from my university, but also to entities, local officials. i don't think that they are going to deport or detain me , asuse several senators well as congresspeople, have been in contact with ice, letting them know -- juan: u.s. senator cory booker is supporting you? bobes, as well as senator
menendez. because of the support i have received, the tremendous amount of support i have received, i don't think they will be deported or detaining me. amy: 21-year-old carimer andujar , a student at rutgers university in your, new jersey, .ounded a group she was summoned for an intervieiew today y with immigrations, customs, enforcement and faces possible deportation. we will report on what happens to her tomorrow. and if you will like to see juan's interview with her in spanish, you can go to democracynow.org/es. atn we come back, we look the trump administration and network neutrality and sinclair broadcasting. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
amy: "runnin" by the internet, featuring tay walker. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. juan: in media news, the sinclair broadcast group is reportedly nearing a $4 billion deal to purchase tribune media, which would give it control of more than one third of more than one third of the country's local tv stations. the reported purchase comes after president trump's pick to head the fcc, ajit pai, dramatically rolled back limits capping the number of stations. -- debra stations one corporation can control. sinclair's chairman and former ceo, david smith, is active in republican politics and supported donald trump's campaign. amy: all this comes as ajit pai has outlined a sweeping plan to dismantle net neutrality rules,
which seek to keep the internet open and prevent corporate seservice providers from b blocg access to websites, slowing down content, or providing paid fast lanes for internet service. pai unveiled the plan last month at a forum hosted by freedomworks, a right-wing group backed by the billionaire koch brothers. the plan would end a rule classifying the internet as a public utility, leaving the industry to largely police itself. that draft proposal will be voted on during the agency's next meeting later this month. the plan was recently criticized by comedian john oliver moments after oliver urged viewers to file comments opposing pai's plan, the fcc's website crashed from the overload. well, for more, we go now to washington, d.c., whwhere we're joined by craig aaron, president and ceo of free press craig aaron, welcome to democracy now! what are you so concerned about this? >> thank you for having me. we're really concerned about so many things happening at the fcc
right now because ajit pai, he has been dismantling all kinds of consumer protections and regulations, certainly net neutrality, which many of us consider the first amendment of the internet the upper deck short ability to go online, do whatever you want, go wherever you want, and download what everyone. and at the same time, they are unleashing unprecedented wave of media consolidation, allowing a company like sinclair to expand far beyond the limits that were established by congress on how many stations one company should be allowed to own. we're seeing a concentration of power on the broadcast side. at the same time, their building of these powerful new gatekeepers, really doing the bidding of the most powerful companies in paving the way for them to do whatever they want. juan: cragg, most americans are not familiar with sinclair.
it is not like t the big television networks. a householdnot name. but it is increasingly gathering a lot of power. haven't they been a high near of the model of news where they create hub cities that in essence provides newsws to have dozen or dozen different cities so that there is no real local news coming out from a lot of their stations? they sort of dumb down the process of even providing local news across america? >> them done a number of experiments. essentially, that with the same kind of cookie-cutter content across their network, which if they get this bill done, will be well over 200 local television stations. they like to try to buy up will double stations in the same market, have one newscast going on multiple channels, as well as doing as much as they can from sinclair headquarters in terms of pushing content out to their network. there are good reporters working
at all of these dues rooms trying to cover local comesities, but the word down from on high that they need to supplement their programs with right-wing commentary, slanted coverage of national politics am a and sinclair is pushing that -- trying to become veryional network pushing slanted, conservative, right-wing views everywhere they go, which is they can complete this deal, will include 30 much all of the biggest markets in the e country. talkcraig aaron, can you about the link between sinclair broadcast group and support for president trump? >> they have rolled out the red carpet for president trump. right after the election, jared kushner indicated he had struck a deal with sinclair for favorable coverage where they would air trump speaking at links without interruption. that is the kind of things that have allowed. they hired multiple trump's
spokespeople, mouthpieces from the administration to come on the air and give the administration's views. and certainly for years and years, going back to when they famously aired at the swift boat veterans for truth video that helped sink the candidacy of john kerry, they've never hesitated, especially around the national election, to the coverage out there that favors their favorite candidate. that candidate is donald trump. and from the day after he was elected, sinclair has been popping champagne bottles because they figured that now they would get it back. this quid pro quo would happen. they gave great coverage and they're coming for the reward, which is the lifting of long-standing limits on media ownership. amy: and were about the ceo david smith? >> david smith has been a big republican donor for a long time to my building of this network. he gives huge amounts of money to republican candidates and causes, but the most viable thing they do is open up their airwaves to republican views. david smith is a guy who has
instructed his company o over te years to try to evade as many rules as possible, setting up shell copies to control more stations, trying to do everything they can to get around the federal communications commission's restrictions. but you listened everything coming out of sync lawyer doesn't sinclair headquarters, they're not worried about that. they're not worried about the fcc because it is the sb4 who is arranging for them -- sec who is arranging for them to pull off these megadeals. amy: can you talk about how the copy reacted? >> it is remarkable because here is a guy, armstrong williams, actually got quite going on sinclair and pushing policies while he was on the payroll of the bush administration, as a consultant. but he did not disclose it. the fcc has fined sinclair for airing fake news. sinclair, not only did they take armstrong williams off the air, they promoted him and that him up as the ceo of a front company
that allow them to control and by more stations. that tells you a lot about what this company things about payola and fake news. amy: this is interesesting that this is all happening while the fox empire is kind of in freefall, right? out, rogerreilly ailes out. do you talk about the significance of this? and also, what this could mean for election coverage? >> i think you hit on it, talking about election coverage. sinclair's strategy has focused on a line of swing states, middle america, you know, the trump team was boasting that sinclair reached more voters in the state of ohio than cnn. they have built up stations all across the country, giving them an incredible reach when it comes to elections, especially reaching older voters who still turn into broadcast television. in many ways, sinclair has become a rival to fox, a giant
media and conservative media particular. there are a lot of rumors that rupert murdoch was going to try to buy these tribune stations. he did not end up bidding. fox news corp. did not end up bidding on the stations, and now sinclair will be by far the biggest chain in the country against -- again, pushing a political agenda. this purchase is only made possible because of changes in ownership rules that ajit pai introduced. why are these rules even important he stays? some say, well, with the spread of the internet and social media , television, broadcast television is less important these days. why is it so important to maintain these limitations on ownership? >> therere is no question that e media landscape is changing. for many of us, there are new places to get news and information. local tv news is still the number one source for news, the
number one source people have for information on local politics. there are many people who don't have access to high-speed internet service. their best chance to find out what is s happening in their communities is going to be over the public airwaves. that is white do so important have a diversity of voices committed to local -- that is why it is so important to have a diversity of voices committed to locals. it is find a have a deserve at a broadcaster. it is not fine to just have a conservative broadcaster on your airwaves. diversity of ownerership insures a a diversity of viewpwpoints. an informed have citizenry and a functioning democracy. what the fcc has done is scandalous. they have gone back and reinstated outdated rules just landke it appear in fcc like sinclair does not own his many tv stations as they actually do. if they get the still done and all pending deals, sinclair will reach 72% of the was population.
the federal limit on one company is supposed to be 39%. back an old rule that is meaningless from a technical standpoint now to discount how the fcc looks at the number of stations they own, so looks like they own half as many stations as they actually do -- which is the way they're paving the way for this deal. sinclair expects the fcc to follow up and get rid of other limits and restrictions as well. at the may 18 fcc meeting, the fcc is putting out a notification to start the rules once again. at a time where we need more local news, more competition, more choices, better informed communities, what we're getting is the same cookie-cutter content coast-to-coast. amy: on sunday, comedian john oliver dedicated nearly 20 minutes of his hbo program to explain that net neutrality is under threat. he directed much of his criticism to fcc chairman ajit pai. is that wergument
don't need title ii to have net neutrality. some of his ideas to have instead are almost lauaughably lax. reportedly floloated having isp voluntarily agreed not to obstruct for slow consumer access to web content and putting that promise in their terms of service can me know, the thing that no human being has ever read and that can change never companies want them to. that idea would basically make finding -- as is binding as a proposal on "the bachelor [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: the enormous response broke the commission's website. , talk about neutrality, what it means, and what it means under a trump administration and ajit pai, the chair of the fcc. >> net neutrality is just a way of saying no discrimination.
it is what ensures that when you go online, you can go where everyone, do what everyone's, download whatever you want. it is not at your cable company or the phone company to decide which websites and services are going to work and which one. we fight over tenures to push the fcc to pass strong net neutrality rules and have enforcement. the trump fcc has declared war on those rules. the chairman is that he wants to take a weed wacker to them. he is trying to undo the rules pass at the end of the obama administration, under the rules supported by millions of americans just to give comcast, verizon, and at&t more ability to create special fast lanes for their own content, to favor the content and sites and services that they own or they are in business with, and cut off competitors, undermine the competition, make it harder for
independent voices to be heard. really damaged the amazing tools that 70 political organizers have used to build social movements usining the free and open internet -- all of this is at risk if we lose net neutrality. the good news is, it is easier said than done. they have to build a case for doing this. they have not done that so far. they are starting the process. in a couple of weeks at the fcc, ajit pai is going to move to reopen these rules, make new rules. we are certain going to be there at free press with all of our allies speaking out in opposition and preparing the case against what ajit pai is going to do on all fronts -- whether that is congress, the courts, at the agency itself. this net neutrality victory was incredibly important victory for free expression for the public interest. donald trump's fcc is prioritizing taking it away. juan: what about the claim by the fcc -- after the oliver broadcast that they were --
their side crash, they claim they were victims of the denial of service attack. you would think that if anyone had sufficient bandwidth to taken public comment, it would be the federal communications commission. that is their job. your response to their claim that they have been victimized? >> i really don't know. what i would urge the fcc to do, they should stray or belongs of what happens of people can understand if they indeed to come under attack. given the timing, you can't help it question were they under attack or was it actually just an attack of democracy with so many people trying to make their voices heard? and the fcc being a prepared? the fcc should be better prepared. they need to open up the system so people can comment. congress needs to give the money to do that. i'm skeptical of the claims, but i would hope the fcc will share what exactly happened and
hopefully, they will get the support they need to secure their systems and actually give people the time and space to make their voices heard. what the fcc needs to be doing is make it easier for the public to weigh in. they care about the future of the internet. millions and millions of people are going to speak out in this proceeding. the fcc should not be closing off its years because of a technical difficult he. amy: i want to turn to the fcc ajit pai lasast month. he attacked or groupup, free press. >> cononsider the leading specel interest in n favor of title ii. numumerous --rlyly nanamed freeee press. they make nono effort to hide ee oup's true a agenda. while e he says we're not at aa point yet where we canan mpletetely eliminanate the tetelephonone and cable e compa, he admits "thehe ultimate goal s to g get rid of the media capitalist and the phone and cable companies and to divest them from control."
amy: craig aaron, defend yourself. >> i appreciate being called a leading group. besides that, obviously, this is the kind of new mccarthyism and redbaiting that we thought we left in the past. the reality is, free press for 10 years has five for the free and open internet, advocated for net neutrality, and there are thousands and thousands and thousands of pages filed at the fcc, office published, female sent, our website is filled with content saying exactly why we stand where we do and exactly what we want, which is likely internet.ree and open if they want to dig around the internet to find out of context quotes from one of my boboard memembmbers, i guess thahat sayt about the chairman and his prioiorities. we're happy to have this fight and win on the facts. juan: what with the internet look like if these forces prevail and net neutrality is abolished?
>> i think the simplest way to look at it, the free and open internet and all that offers starts to look a lot like cable tv. where a company picks and chooses the channels for you, decides what is going to get the best service, decides what is available in a package. and everything that makes the internet so great, the fact anyone with a great idea can go online, start their own business, find their own voice, make their own art -- that is in jejeardy if yoyou lose this fundamenental protection of net neutrality. suddenly, these companies will have free reign to interfere however they want, often in ways that might be impossible for the average user to see or recognize. amy: craig aaron, thank you for being with us, president and ceo of free press. congratulations to democracy w lewis.re we continue with our democracy now! covering the movements, changing america tour.
i willl be speaking in new york tonight. for a complete listing of cities and dates, go to democracynow.org. democracy now! is looking for feedbaback from people whoho apprececiate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail them to democracy now! p.o. box 693 new york, new york 10013. [captioning made possible by democracy y now!]